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Lithia residents grow more frustrated over continued sidewalk issues, have safety concerns

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Posted at 5:03 AM, Apr 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 12:03:00-04

LITHIA, Fla. — Some people living in Lithia are frustrated over broken sidewalks in their neighborhoods. Many have safety concerns as they wait for crews to fix them.

“There are still a lot of concerns,” said Lithia resident Jacqueline Cooper.

ABC Action News first spoke with Cooper back in 2020.

“It was February 14, Valentine’s Day, a normal day. I got up and went for my walk like I always do,” she said.

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She has firsthand experience with cracked and lifted sidewalks in her Lithia neighborhood.

“I was walking along and just a very small sidewalk issue was there and I didn’t see it at all and I tripped and the momentum like carried me and I kept going forward and finally I just face planted,” said Cooper.

She said she got black eyes and a bruised chin from the fall, the impact even knocked out a couple of her teeth.

“I had stitches all down in my gums where my teeth went through my gums,” said Cooper.

Now more than two years later, Copper claims problems from that fall have continued.

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“It jarred my teeth so bad that I’m having other issues in my mouth,” she said.

“Recently they did an MRI and they found that they have five bulging discs in my back. I knew I had two but that additional three is probably from when I fell,” she added.

She and her neighbors tell ABC Action News they’re frustrated because they still see cracked and raised sidewalks, often from tree roots.

“I would say on my morning walk an average of 30-40 of these I see these incidents along the way,” said Cooper.

While county crews have been out to address some of the issues, Cooper said it’s not enough.

“Obviously I’d like them to come out and fix them not just put these band-aids on them so hopefully people don’t trip. I don’t want anybody to have to go through what I went through,” she said.

In the meantime, she’s calling on the community to step up.

“If someone should come along and trip on a sidewalk as I did, I know my situation is pretty intense, but it needs to be reported. We need to report all the sidewalks and their problems. If it’s in front of your house if you see it along the path where you walk, report it,” said Cooper.

This is an issue people are experiencing in neighborhoods all over Hillsborough County. Officials said they’re working through the complaints to repair all the sidewalks but the backlog is more than 10 years long.

For more information on how to report a sidewalk issue and how the county repairs them, click here.